Nowhere

She is hanging below me, clinging to a loose rope. I reach out. She’s too far away. She is too afraid to let go, and I am too afraid to lean out any further.
She’s helpless.
The rope creaked ominously. I look up instinctively, and in that second I see the rope snap high above us. My head snaps down in an instant. Just quick enough to see her fall.
I hear my own screams mixed in with hers.
“Megan…!”
***

Lauren's friend, Megan, died five years ago and Lauren has never really gottten over it. Finally she decides that it's time for her to face her fears. She goes back to the place Megan died, hoping to find it in herslef to move on. What she doesn't bargin on is what she discovers about her death. What really happened? And what has it got to do with Lauren? All the while she finds herself falling for boy she'd have ben better off running far away from...

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14. Burnt Toast

  My eyes flicker open lazily, light filtering into the room through the open blinds. I blink a couple of times and run my hands through my hair, scraping it back off my face. Stretching my arms out either side of me, I’m suddenly aware that Tyler isn’t beside me anymore. I turn my head to look at the empty bed next to me.

  Suddenly terror sweeps through me. They’ve taken him. They found us and kidnapped him! Then rationality kicks in. Of course they haven’t come. They’re after me, not him. If they’d been here, I think I’d have noticed.

  I release my breath, my body instantly relaxing; he’s probably on the toilet or something.

  I turn my head to the other side and see him, sitting watching me from across the room. As soon as he sees my eyes are open he smiles, if not a little sadly. I sit up, leaning on my elbows, “What are you doing over there?”

  He laughs softly and the sound makes me realise how much I love his laugh. It’s a sad thing that I haven’t been able to hear it much. Tyler comes over and sits on the bed next to me. “Watching you.”

  “You were watching me sleep? I ask, incredulously.

  He just shrugs in response and again I notice the corners of his mouth pull down sadly.

  Sitting up further and leaning against the wooden headboard, I demand. “Right, what’s wrong? What happened?”

  “Nothing.” But his eyes dart away from mine to look out of the window, only confirming my suspicions.

  “Luna’s right, you’re a terrible spy. What’s wrong?”

  He sighs. I put a hand on his back to encourage him to talk. I don’t know why I did it – maybe I’d read all the women do it in those romance novels when the love interest is stressed. It wasn’t exactly like my experience with boys was great. Actually, it’s closer to zero, so I’m glad, in a way for those unrealistic novels, because at least they taught me something; Tyler relaxes slightly and leans back on the headboard next to me.

  Score one for the romance novels.

  “Luna got through to our Mum.” My silent elation dissolves and I bit my lip, my eyebrows low over my eyes.

  “What happened?” I’m surprised to find I’m whispering.

  Still avoiding my eye, he says, “Whether they knew we’d been there or not, they searched the house. Mum was alright, but the house is ruined. They tried to get her to talk, but nothing worked.” I smile slightly. “She says she’s okay, but the house is ruined.”

  I try to imagine my Mum being raided and shiver at the thought. Speaking of parents, I haven’t even thought of them since the whole episode with Yasmin. No, that’s a lie, I have thought of them, but without a phone I can’t ring them. I don’t even what to think about how panicked they must be right now. Maybe I should ask to use Tyler or Luna’s phone later. But then what would I tell them?

  Tyler interrupts my thoughts, misinterpreting them. “It’s okay, they didn’t find anything. Mum destroyed it all.”

  I nod, not knowing what there was to destroy, but reassured. “Who’s ‘they’? Yasmin’s team?” I wince at her name.

  He just shrugs. “Yeah, they might have someone else in command now, they might not-” he ignores the look I throw at him. “-but they’re obviously still after the same thing.”

  Me.

  He finally meets my eyes, and I feel the blood rush to my cheeks. There’s a spark in his eyes as my body moves without my permission to close the distance between us, oh-so aware of his hand moving to the small of my back. Just as our lips meet with the lightest pressure the door is thrown open, crashing against the wall with a bang that makes me jump. Instinctively, I jump away from Tyler, as if I’d been about to do something illegal (Kissing my boyfriend is sure as heck not a crime. As far as I know) but that means moving backwards and banging my head sharply against the edge of the headboard behind me.

  “Crap.” I curse, clutching the back of my head, wincing in pain.

  Tyler lets out a frustrated breath, and comes to sit behind me, gingerly peeling my hands away from my skull and examining it himself. I can’t see him, but I’d be willing to bet he’s glaring at Luna over my head because she grins slyly and he says, “Couldn’t you leave us alone for two minutes?”

  “Nah, this is my apartment, I don’t want you two getting up to anything you shouldn’t be.” She winks and slams the door shut on us again. “Breakfast in five minutes!” She calls through the door.

  I grin and roll my eyes, but Tyler groans. I turn my head to the side to look at his profile, when he looks at me, I can’t help but notice how close our lips are. “Are you okay?” He breathes. I can feel his breath on my lips.

  “I’m good, I’ve had worse.” I shrug, looking away from his intense eyes, suddenly unable to look at him.

  Tyler’s warm hand sends a jolt of electricity through my veins as his fingers move my chin to face him. “Hey, why don’t-“

  But whatever Tyler was about to ask is lost when Luna interrupts us. Again. “I’ve made toast Lovebirds!”

  “Ergh.” He groans and pulls back. I have to resist the urge to pull his lips back to mine, but the disappointment must show on my face because Tyler chuckles, pecking me on the lips before standing up. “There’s a change of clothes for you on the chair,” he gestures to the pile. “I’ll just... err... go.”

  I giggle at his awkward expression as he leaves the room, closing the door quietly in comparison to his sister’s slamming.

  It takes me a few minutes to work up the effort to swing my legs over the size of the bed, noting that my leg hurts considerably less than it did do when I went to sleep. I take my time getting dressed, listening to the strangely comforting noises of plates clattering in the kitchen, Tyler and Luna laughing about something and the radio playing quietly in the background.

  If I’m really honest to myself, the reason I’m being so slow has nothing to do with being tired – I must be sleeping for longer than I’m awake at the moment. The alternative is to worry. No, I’m not tired, but I am nervous.

  I don’t want to know what Luna has found out, because as much as I want to figure out what’s going on, I just know I won't like what I here.

  So, with a sigh, I reluctantly open the door and join Tyler sitting at a gleaming breakfast bar, a plate of jam and toast sitting in front of him.

  “... but I couldn’t believe he actually thought I’d do it. Seriously, how naive can you get? Oh, hey Lauren. Good nights sleep?” She winks at me, he eyes flashing to Tyler so there’s no way I can miss her meaning

  I shrug, trying not to blush, “Yeah, it was great thanks.”

  “Bless.”  She ruffles Tyler’s already messy hair as she sits opposite me, even though she’s at least a head shorter than him. “Anyway,” she faces me, and in a casual tone, she announces, “I’ve found your file.”

  Already? My eyes grow wider and I take in a deep breath, ready for the blow.

  Luna notices and her eyes soften, “Don’t worry, I haven’t looked at it yet, however much I wanted to,” She glances quickly at Tyler; maybe he’s told her not to look at it yet? “But we can’t really put it off any longer. It’s only the public file though,” She warns, “It probably won't give us much information other than what you already know. You need special access to get to the proper government records.” My heart sinks, but she ploughs on. “However, I have a contact in the office. He owed me a favour anyway, so he’s going to get your full file. It might take a few days though.”

  She looks at me probingly and I nod to show I understand. I suppose it means I won't find anything much out for a few days. I don’t know whether to be relieved or annoyed. On the whole, I’m more relieved.

  “We can get this over with now.” So, with my toast still in one hand, Luna leads us back off to her ‘den’. I throw myself onto the sofa, uninterested in whatever is on that file. Because I don’t need to be remind of my birthday or my parents, or the hospital I was born in. Tyler hesitates at the door, unsure whether or not to follow Luna or me. I roll my eyes, grabbing his arm and pulling him down next to me.

  “You’re seriously going to spy on my file. I don’t think so.” I roll my eyes.

  He smirks. “Why, what are you hiding?”

  “Here we go.” Luna announces, clicking the mouse on a screen I can’t see. She starts narrating what she can see on the screen. “Name: Lauren Delilah Fanon-”

  “Delilah?” Tyler looks at me and laughs, throwing his head back against the sofa.

  “Oi!” I hit his arm, pretending to be insulted. “There is nothing wrong with my name!”

  Luna continues on, without me noticing the small frown on her face. “Born -” She stops abruptly, making me turn away from my struggle with Tyler.

  “12th September.”

  Luna’s head snaps up to look at me as I ask, “What about it?” It’s not in her usual friendly expression, but something harder to define. Her frown deepens and she looks back to the screen, mumbling something I can’t hear.

  “What’s the matter?” Tyler sit sup straighter, eyes narrowed at his sister.

  She replies without looking at either of us, eyes fixed on the screen. “Um... Come over here a second.”

  I’m frozen to the spot. No, no. There can’t be anything wrong with my birthday. There can’t be. I have a birth certificate to prove it. Tyler, however, still has the use of his legs and jumps up to join Luna in front of the screen. I watch silently, frozen as his eyes scan down the page, his expression becoming more worried the further he reads.

  “Oh god.” Tyler glances up at me, pity in his eyes.

  “What?”

  He bites his lip, something he doesn’t do unless there’s something seriously wrong. “Lauren...”

  “What is it? Tell me!” I’m surprised by the volume of my own voice and find myself on my feet, fists clenched at my side.

  Tyler mirrors me, standing up too, stepping forwards and putting a consoling hand on my arm. “Lauren... it says you were adopted.”

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